Sparking hope and maximizing youth potential amidst crises

By Ghadeer Ghloum

KUWAIT: Amidst the global crises this era is facing, where challenges seem overwhelming and instability is concerning people, some sparks of hope emerge through the rise of opportunities. As the world goes through conflicts and crises in various spheres, from climate change and pandemics to social tensions and many other issues, a glimmer of hope has emerged for individuals in sectors such as agriculture, health and technology, which are presenting great opportunities for innovation, growth and positive change.

To further explore how global crises can pave the way for individuals to harness their potential and contribute to a brighter future for all, Kuwait Times interviewed Dalal Al-Baloul, teaching assistant and field practicum liaison of social work at the Department of Sociology and Social Work at Kuwait University, and Abdulrahman Al-Fraih, manager of the organic agriculture department at the Public Authority for Agricultural Affairs and Fish Resources. Baloul shared a few examples with Kuwait Times, saying that social crises, like the conflicts experienced by societies, can open up opportunities for young people in society to highlight their role in community participation.

Dalal Al-Baloul

We see in many societies the role of young people emerging in different fields during crises. For example, voluntary aid groups are formed when a country is hit by natural disasters. Young people also have a renewed and exceptional role in building bridges of peace by creating a language for effective and peaceful communication between different groups to resolve conflicts in society. In addition, the youth in society are characterized by their ability to innovate and create positive change that contributes to the progress of communities. Baloul also said another example is health crises, such as pandemics, that are accompanied by an increase in attention to healthcare and the services that need to be provided.

“Just like we saw in the recent pandemic, it provided an opportunity for young people who were considered frontline workers to provide these services and assist in the field of public health and mental health in particular,” she said. The role of mental health service providers stood out in raising awareness among communities about the importance of paying attention to symptoms of mental and psychological disorders that people may experience as a result of the pandemic. Many virtual workshops and lectures were held, and awareness services through social media increased significantly, contributing to a noticeable increase in people’s awareness of their mental and psychological health.

Fraih highlighted that despite the difficulties farmers face due to several factors that hinder their process, the use of artificial intelligence (AI) has allowed farmers to maintain their jobs in agriculture instead of feeling despair due to climate change and eroding soil fertility. According to Fraih, farmers, for instance, can innovate and produce more instead of losing hope due to crises, with the help of AI. He said the effects of climate change and desertification pose a potential food crisis, but farmers can address these challenges through various strategies. AI is increasingly adopted in agriculture, aiding in planting, pest monitoring, data collection and forecasting, thus enhancing farm productivity and preemptively mitigating environmental issues.

Fraih said “regenerative farming” is another approach gaining popularity. It takes a holistic view to build farms from the ground up, improving biodiversity, soil properties and sustainable planning. Polyculture systems (eg, agroforestry, companion planting) diversify income and create resilient production systems. Indoor growing systems such as hydroponics, aeroponics and aquaponics remove environmental constraints by employing artificial lighting, robots and AI to create fully automated plant factories that can lower resource usage while achieving high performance.

Fraih further emphasized that selecting the right seeds is vital, as breeders are developing cultivars with heat resilience, pest resistance and stronger plant-soil relationships. Ultimately, Fraih sees that farmers are realizing that despite the crises that might hinder the quality of farming and agriculture, AI is accelerating the breeding process, offering better genetics to help farmers adapt to future challenges. Hence, he said by combining these approaches, farmers are combating environmental conditions and degraded soils while ensuring long-term agricultural sustainability.

The post Sparking hope and maximizing youth potential amidst crises appeared first on Kuwait Times.

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